Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 Review

With the release of the highly popular Nike MetCon 1, Reebok must have known that it had to step up it’s game to reclaim some of it’s lost market.  They struck back with the Compete 6:14, but with a number limited to some 3000 pairs, I don’t think that even the near $200 price tag could have helped them out much.  The next iteration of their bread and butter Nano line-up had to be something really special.  Taking a few of the upgraded features that were found on the Compete’s, making it more livable for everyday use, and reducing the price tag seemed to be like a few good places to start.  The Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0 is here and much like every Nano release, it’s the best one yet.  Except this time around it’s more than just a pretty new face.

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First Impressions/Looks/Construction/Fit:

Upon unboxing the shoe, the first thing that comes to mind is: “Wow, the pictures really don’t do the shoe justice.”.  In just about every picture I saw of the shoe, I was less than impressed, but it really actually looks pretty good in person.  Secondly, the shoe is really lightweight, probably due to the replacement of the Duracage found in previous models to the new Kevlar overlay.  It also physically feels like a bigger shoe in the hand than the Nano 4.0 and the tiny Compete’s.  This was confirmed to me after I put the shoe on, the toebox resembles the Nano 3.0’s closer than anything else in the Nano line-up. It’s not overly loose, but it feels nice and spacious, giving ample room for your toes to splay.  Another thing to note is that my “Morton’s Toe” doesn’t jam up into the front of the shoe like it has on all but the Nano 3.0’s.  The right most “knuckle” of my toes on my right foot kind of rubs up against something in the shoe, not enough to be detrimental, but enough to notice.

When the shoe is on, it feels like the Compete, but with much more support (the Compete virtually had none).  Even compared to the previous Nano’s the 5.0 has a ton more support, especially in the mid-foot/arch, but not as much as the Metcon’s do.  It’s worth noting that the drop has been reduced from the standard 4mm to now 3mm’s, and you can tell the difference, the shoe feels more neutral than it ever has before.  The upper is super comfortable, it flexes and bends with every movement of your foot, creating a more natural step.  The outsole, feels just as wide as any of the other Nano’s, providing what would seem like a stable platform to lift on, but with the inclusion of the excellent “gecko” like treading, my favorite feature found on the Compete’.  The new insoles found on the Nano 5.0’s are still just about as thin as they’ve previously been, with the addition of arch support.

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It’s worth noting that though the kevlar upper is carried over from the Compete, it’s not in its entirety.  The Compete has a much more robust upper while the Nano 5.0 has a lighter kevlar “skeleton”.  Another omission is the back plastic heel cup and while the Nano 5.0 cups your heel well enough, it’s lacking that bit to help you do handstand push-ups.  On the toe box, a mesh paneling replaces the breathable abrasion resistant fabric found on the Compete.  While the kevlar definitely  makes the shoe a lot more flexible, it doesn’t do much in the way of weight reduction, as the 5.0’s tip the scales at 9.7 oz.

Day to day, the 5.0’s are excellent.  They’re totally comfortable to wear since they’re a bit bigger and more flexible.  If they weren’t so gaudy, you could probably take them anywhere.  They definitely resemble a pair of Nano’s, but since when did “CrossFit” shoes have to be so out there?  We get it, most CrossFitters are loud and proud, but we don’t need our gear to be the next “Affliction”.  The U-Forms were simple, had clean lines, but still looked great.  Look at the MetCon’s, simple design, functional, and every new color way causes a frenzy.

Like all of my shoes, I purchased the 5.0’s in size 9.5 US, and for me the fit is perfect.

Size as you have ALL of your Nano’s.  

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Functionality:

The Nano 5.0 is an excellent shoe to squat in, being that it’s so neutral, just like all of the Nano’s prior to this shoe.  The fact that it has such a flat and solid base makes it extremely stable doing pretty much any squat with very minimal heel lift; I have absolutely no issues not resorting to using olympic lifting shoes for anything.  The back of the shoe cups your heel into place and while it’s lacking the outer piece of plastic found on the compete, it still provides excellent heel support. Laterally, the shoe feels like all the Nano’s before, but closest to the the 3.0, due to the width of the shoe.

Power delivery and response is excellent with the Nano 5.0.  There isn’t much to get in the way of your foot and the floor since the shoe is so low to the ground.  The excellent flexibility of the shoe makes things like box jumps, double unders and running in the 5.0 the best it’s ever been.  While not quite as good a running shoe as the Compete, the 5.0 is definitely the best of the Nano’s, and better than the MetCon.  Don’t be too elated to hear that, the 5.0’s still have the “clunkiness” of the Nano heritage, it’s just to a lesser degree since the shoe is much more flexible than before.  That “gecko-like” treading on the outsole of the Nano 5.0 provides almost as good grip as the outsole found on the Compete’s, definitely one of the best features found on the 5.0.

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Not worrying about what’s on your feet is probably the most important thing you could ask from any shoe.  I never have to think twice about what’s happening with my feet with the Nano 5.0’s.  They just work, and they work well enough so that I don’t spend too much time thinking about my shoes.  Not feeling like I have to change shoes for this or that is definitely something I look for in a shoe.

Rope-Pro, Reebok’s special treading to aid in rope climbs, is completely foreign to what you knew, in this iteration. I couldn’t help but to find myself scrambling to find the rope after it slipped through my feet numerous times during the workout.  I had no troubles with the similar, Rope-Pro on the Compete, but for some reason the footing wasn’t quite the same on the 5.0’s.  Even just the “sticky-rubber” outsoles of the MetCon’s grabbed the ropes quite a bit better than on the Nano 5.0’s.

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Another thing to note is that I usually use the Spanish wrap (around your leg, over your foot), but it’s just way too painful to do so on the Nano 5.0’s (& Compete’s) due to the paper thin upper.  At least the Duracage was good for protecting your instep from getting smashed up on rope climbs.  The part of the outsole on the MetCon’s effectively does the same thing, without having a full on cage over your foot.

After 15 rope climbs, the Nano 5.0’s still looked decent, but an alarming amount of threads came undone from the “skeleton” and the front area of where the laces begin is starting to fray.  This was only one WOD, I’m not quite sure the kevlar makes the shoe the toughest Nano yet if there’s this much wear after just one workout with rope climbs.

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Conclusion:

To be completely honest, I was in no hurry to get these shoes.  I could have ordered them custom a little early, or gone to regionals in hopes to grab some, but after the Compete’s, I saw no compelling reasons (other than to review them) to rush out and get the Nano 5.0’s.  There’s no resale like the MetCon’s, virtually no sneaker frenzy, the color ways aren’t all that special and at the end of the day, it’s just another Nano.

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That being said, I do like the Nano 5.0; a lot more than I thought I was going to, because it’s a great shoe!  The fit is great and it performs well, improving on almost all areas of the Nano.  Let’s face it, it’s impossible to make the perfect shoe, since you have to give some things to get other things, but Reebok is doing a pretty good job trying.  Is it a worth upgrade? To some, it might be.  If you felt like the 4.0’s got too narrow and prefer the wider fit of the 3.0, then it’s a great shoe for you. Those looking for a better running Nano will also find that the 5.0 is a worthy upgrade.  If all you ever want to do in life is squat, press and deadlift, then maybe not. Did Reebok do enough to gain it’s lost customer base back from Nike? Nope.  Should you give it a shot anyways? Absolutely, the Nano 5.0’s may surprise you.

I’m not quite sure that raising the price to $130 was the right move for Reebok.  Maybe they were going for the, “If it costs more, it must be better.” idea. I hope the gamble works, or that it doesn’t and Adidas ends up selling Reebok away.

5 comments

    1. I was going to say the 2.0s are my favorite, but I would actually recommend the CrossFit lite TRs since they’re partly designed by Mark Bell.

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